One Cent Sales Surtax
One Cent Sales Surtax Program in the City of Boca Raton
In November 2016, Palm Beach County voters approved raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. This 1-cent sales tax increase took effect January 1, 2017 and will sunset on December 31, 2026 unless $2.7 billion is collected before then.
Palm Beach County Schools will receive 50% of the surtax funds, Palm Beach County will receive 30% and the 39 municipalities will split the remaining 20%, based on population. The surtax funds may only be used for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, schools and government buildings.
The City of Boca Raton is estimated to receive $5,300,000 per year (about $53,000,000 over the next 10 years). It has created an Infrastructure Surtax Fund for the purpose of accepting and disbursing the funds and the City’s Financial Advisory Board will act as the oversight committee for the expenditures through this fund.
Unlike some other communities, one of the priorities that Boca Raton has had over the years was to maintain the City’s infrastructure. Each year the City has allocated funds to replace, repair and renovate the City’s parks, beaches, roads, water lines, and other facilities.
The City has a six-year capital improvements (CIP) program that is updated during the annual budget process. For the current fiscal year, about $62,500,000 in capital projects were identified, and the total amount of capital projects over the six year period is $373,341,000. Some of these capital items include equipment and vehicles which would not be eligible for funding through the surtax, but other projects, like pavement resurfacing, traffic improvements, building and facility renovations and park improvements are eligible.
While funding sources have been identified for most of the projects in the existing CIP program, the surtax funds will allow the City to reprioritize the current CIP projects and possibly expedite the existing project schedules. Additional details about the City’s CIP projects can be found in the 2016-2017 budget.
Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County School District will also using part of allocation of the surtax funds for some projects related to their facilities located within the City.
While having project funding is important, so is having the improvements constructed properly, on-schedule and on-budget. Both the City and Palm Beach County are in the process of reviewing procurement methods for timely and successful implementation of the surtax and other projects.
The initial payment of the surtax funds (for January 2017) was received by the City in March 2017. City staff is reviewing current projects for the use of surtax funds. Additional review and prioritization will be completed as the six year CIP program is updated during the annual budget process.
Although the specific projects which will be funded by the surtax funds have not yet been identified, some of the projects currently in the CIP that are being reviewed for the surtax funding include:
• Road Resurfacing
• Pedestrian Pathways
• Sidewalk Renovation and Repair
• Park improvements
• Building and Facility Renovation
• Bridge & Seawall Repairs
• Traffic Improvements
• Street Lights